Let’s talk about dental impressions. Dental impressions are a method by which dentists create physical models of the patient’s teeth. These dental models have a wide variety of important applications, allowing the dentist to better understand the how the patient’s teeth actually fit together as well as devise a treatment plan for moving forward.
Unfortunately, the process of taking impressions via traditional methods may feel quite invasive to some patients, and for some it may be a trigger for dental anxiety.
Dental impressions are usually acquired through the use of Polyvinyl siloxane (PVS), a rapid hardening elastic material. PVS is prepared into a putty-like substance by the dentist shortly before impressions are taken, placed into impression trays which are then held in the patient’s mouth. The PVS rapidly hardens around the patient’s teeth in the trays, leaving an impression of the patient’s bite in the elastic material. The PVS is then sent to a lab which creates a model of the patient’s teeth based on the impressions taken by the dentist.
The large impression trays can feel uncomfortable in the patient’s mouth and the semi-liquid PVS material can activate some patients’ gag reflex. The result is an unpleasant experience causing many patients to dread their trip to the dentist, maybe even to the degree that they begin to neglect their oral health.
Your well-being is our highest priority here at InHarmony Dental Care. We believe that there is a direct correlation between patient comfort and oral health. We strive to do all we can to take the anxiety out of the trip to the dentist.
We would like to introduce you to another solution to the physical impression process: the iTero Element 2 Digital Scanner.
The iTero Element 2 Digital Scanner provides a way of acquiring detailed patient models using only the built-in scanning wand.
What this means is that we can create a completely accurate 3D model of your teeth without the use of any traditional impression materials. The iTero Element 2 Digital Scanner can produce a fully rendered 3D digital model roughly 59% faster than physical impressions, meaning less time in the dentist’s chair, and a more comfortable experience for you.
The Element 2 is an all-digital process, which means that once rendered, Dr. Alex can show you the 3D model on the interactive screen right from your dental chair. This digital modelling offers a number of advantages over traditional dental impressions.
One new feature offered by the Element 2 is the Occlusogram, a kind of heat map for how your teeth fit together. Every smile is unique, and that applies to the specific way your teeth fit together. The Occlusogram can predict which of your teeth will sustain more wear and tear over time, allowing Dr. Alex to prepare a personalized, pre-emptive treatment plan that will keep your smile beautiful, longer.
Another advantage digital modelling has over physical impressions is the ability to produce visualization for treatment plans. The Element 2 can not only produce a visual replica of your teeth, it can also create a visual prognosis for the outcome of your upcoming dental care. This allows Dr. Alex to not only show you the current status of your teeth in 3D, but create an approximate projection of how your teeth will look after the completion of your treatment. We believe that being able to see the future of your smile can take some of the anxiety out of dental work, allowing you to be more confident in your decision to prioritize your oral health.
Our digital scanning process can replace traditional impressions in many aspects of our dental practice. Regardless of if you’re coming to us for a minor aesthetic upgrade -such as the application of veneers- or require more advanced restorative work -such as the placing a dental bridge to replace a missing tooth- you can rest assured knowing that we have invested in a gentle, more approachable process.
In all these ways, we are working hard to provide a better, more peaceful approach to dentistry. That’s what it means to us to be InHarmony, and we think you’ll agree.